Apple vs. FBI: Snowden, Wozniak, Gates, Americans weigh in

Yes, we’re talking Apple vs. FBI again, because the following people are.

Edward Snowden: The former government tech contractor who leaked documents that in 2013 revealed mass NSA spying has supported Apple since it said last month it would not help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, because it feared doing so would set a precedent that would threaten privacy and security.

Tuesday, Snowden went further and said via video link to a Common Cause Blueprint for a Great Democracy conference: “The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’ to unlock the phone. Respectfully, that’s bulls—.”

Snowden later tweeted a link to an ACLU post that details how the FBI could unlock the phone without help from the Silicon Valley company.

Steve Wozniak: The Apple co-founder said on Conan O’Brien’s TV show earlier this week that he’s on Apple’s side and the FBI picked “a lame case.”

Wozniak also told Recode that it’s tough to answer important questions about privacy and security in the aftermath of an emotional issue such as a terrorist attack. “When you react emotionally and not think out the logical train, you don’t come to the right conclusion.”

American people: A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows once again that Americans are pretty evenly divided on the issue. The survey, conducted last week among 1,200 registered voters, found that 47 percent felt the government won’t go far enough in monitoring terror suspects’ communications, while 44 percent said the government might go too far. Meanwhile, 42 percent Apple should cooperate with the FBI, while 47 percent Apple shouldn’t and 11 percent said they weren’t sure.

Bill Gates: The Microsoft co-founder weighed in again this week. A couple of weeks ago, Gates took the government’s side, then struggled to explain a more nuanced view after getting some flak.

During an Ask Me Anything session Tuesday on Reddit, Gates said: “I think there needs to be a discussion about when the government should be able to gather information. What if we had never had wiretapping? Also the government needs to talk openly about safeguards. Right now a lot of people don’t think the government has the right checks to make sure information is only used in criminal situations. So this case will be viewed as the start of a discussion.”

 

Photo: Edward Snowden in 2014. (FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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